Spain is one of the most beloved holiday destinations, especially for those residing in the UK. While 2020 deprived us of the opportunity to visit the country, it’s important to remain positive and look ahead to better times. There’s certainly a huge appetite for travel, with many Brits looking eagerly forward to when they can book their next holiday. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we are back relaxing on Spain’s sun-soaked shores and wandering its pretty streets but in the meantime, we want to help you plan ahead. That’s why we have put together this ‘how-to’ guide, presenting tips and advice for organising your holiday to Spain.
While visiting Spain isn’t an option at the time of publishing this article due to the global health crisis, the tips here should stand you in good stead for that future holiday you’ve been dreaming of.
Keep up to date with health and safety measures
It’s always important to keep up to date with the health advice for your destination of choice and this is even more crucial right now. After all, your much-desired trip Spain isn’t going to happen until the pandemic has subsided and Spain allows visitors from the UK. You will likely not want to visit yourself until things are safe in Spain either so keeping an eye on the current situation will help you make your plans. You can stay abreast of travel restrictions from a UK and Spain perspective via the Gov.uk website.
When looking to organise your holiday, it’s also important to make sure you have sorted out travel insurance that covers your healthcare for your time in Spain. After all, you want to be looked after should you become ill or have an accident for any reason. Post-Brexit, fortunately, your existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will still be valid if you’re travelling to Spain and once it’s expired, you can replace it with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which “gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).”
If you are looking to travel to lovely Andalucia, there is some great news for 2021 if travel becomes possible. The Andalusian government are offering a special type of travel insurance to non-resident international travellers for free during 2021. It provides COVID insurance when staying at any type of regulated establishment in Andalucia until 31 December 2021.
It only requires that the visitor is staying at an official hotel, registered tourist apartment, hostel, or campsite and in the case the visitor should get COVID-19 during their stay, then this insurance will cover for hospital costs, extended stay at the hotel (including quarantine), transportation and repatriation. So, just by staying at an officially registered accommodation, you are automatically covered. It should be noted, however, that any travel insurance you already have will cover you first and the Andalusian travel assistance insurance will come in second.
Rachel, a travel blogger from the blog From East to West, has spent time in Spain and has spoken about the importance of getting travel insurance before your trip: “When visiting Spain, I highly recommend getting travel insurance. You never know what may happen to your flights, a death/personal emergency in your family, or an accident happening while travelling.”
Make sure your travel documents are valid
If it has been a while since you have travelled, you will want to make sure that your passport is up to date and valid for your trip to Spain. You won’t be going anywhere if your passport doesn’t meet the necessary criteria for travel! On the day that you intend to travel to Spain, your passport will need to have at least six months left before it expires and be less than 10 years old. It takes a little while to renew your passport (three weeks online and longer by post) so, dig it out of the drawer and make sure all is well. You can then start thinking about some of the more fun parts of your holiday to Spain.
Read more about renewing your passport here.
Research locations and attractions
Now you’re ready to start organising the logistics of your holiday, i.e., what you want to do during your time in Spain and where you would like to visit specifically. If you are travelling with others, dedicating some time to think this through will help make sure everyone is happy.
The first step will be to think about what type of holiday you would like. You might fancy a week by the pool and relaxing on the beach, you might want to go sightseeing, try a city break or do something more active like hiking or skiing. Once you have figured out what you want from your time in Spain, you can then start to research the locations and attractions that can make this happen.
This is the advice that Cristina, a Spanish expat from the blog My Little World of Travelling, recommends for organising a holiday in Spain: “My top tip for organising a trip to Spain is to decide what type of activities and weather you would like to experience. For example, if you love coastal destinations and warm temperatures, Southern and Eastern Spain are your best choices. However, if you are after hiking and green landscapes, Northern Spain has beautiful hiking routes including the famous Camino de Compostela.”
If you want lots of variety on your holiday, heading to somewhere like Andalucia will be a great idea. In this southern region of Spain, you can enjoy everything from glorious sandy beaches and historical attractions to fascinating cities and picturesque countryside. It’s also home to the ever-popular Costa del Sol.
Cristina is very familiar with the Costa del Sol herself and has shared a couple of tips specific to the area: “Don’t limit yourself to only explore resort areas like Torremolinos and Benalmádena. Although they have great attractions and plenty of things to do, there are other small, beautiful towns that are worth visiting, and the best way to visit them is by car. I would recommend looking for a road trip itinerary to Costa del Sol.”
Once you have decided on a location, you can then think about the types of attractions you want to see and start building out your dream itinerary. It’s never too early to get planning for when you actually touch down in Spain. After all, you can always amend your to-do list at a later date.
Cristina, from the travel blog Memories of the Pacific, lives in Spain so has tons of great tips and recommendations. Her top tip for organising a Spanish getaway is to add “as many places off the beaten path as you can to your itinerary so that you can truly embrace the culture and experience Spain to the fullest.”
Cristina shared with us that people often come to Spain for the weather but that there is so much more on offer: “There’s a wide variety of things to do: swimming at amazing beaches, visiting quaint little villages and exploring big cities with world-famous landmarks and art collections. Also, the north and south are completely different so in Spain, you can find something for everyone. Last but not least, we have Spanish culture: the warmth, friendliness and passion of the people together with delicious food and unique traditions make Spain one of a kind.”
Decide when you would like to visit
If you have gotten to the stage of deciding where to visit and the type of holiday you are after, you can now think about when your trip to Spain should take place. Of course, at the time of publishing this article, this is all very dependent on the coronavirus pandemic and when travel is allowed, but global events permitting, Spain is a location that can be enjoyed throughout the year. If you want to avoid the hottest weather, this might play into your decision, for example, regarding which month to visit.
There is never a bad month to visit Spain, but the summer can get very hot in the south, with spring and the autumn also having lovely weather. So, if you love the hot weather and want to top up that tan, the summer will be beckoning you or if you fancy taking advantage of the ski season during your holiday, November through to May will be your choice. No matter what you choose, Spain has so much to offer.
The country’s hot weather is one of the reasons why the locals enjoy their afternoon siesta, letting them escape the Spanish sun. Paulina from the travel blogs Visit Southern Spain and Paulina on the Road, suggests exploring when the sun isn’t at its hottest:
“One of my top tips when visiting Spain is always: adapt to the Spanish hours. The Spanish, and particularly in Southern Spain, the opening schedules of restaurants, museums and shops are different than in the rest of Europe. Usually, they include a long lunch break, often up to three hours or more. It’s the legendary siesta, one of the top things that Spain is famous for. Do it like the locals! I’ve seen too many tourists trying to visit Seville under the burning sun instead of just adapting to the local schedule.”
Paulina also spoke to us about what she believes draws visitors back to Spain time and time again: “For me, there are two reasons why Spain is such an attractive destination. First, there’s its unique blend of centuries-old traditions with modern buildings and savoir-vivre. And then secondly, the landscapes, the dialects and regional identities are extremely diverse. For example, Andalusian food is very different from Galician gastronomy and at the first sight, it’s hard to believe that regions like Catalunya, Canary Islands, and the Baleares belong to one country. This diversity makes Spain a destination that you always come back to.”
Plan your transport
A key part of organising any holiday to Spain will be planning your transport while there. One of the most rewarding ways to enjoy the country is by getting out and experiencing the culture first-hand and there isn’t a better way to do so than by renting a car. This is a popular course of action for visitors to Spain, allowing you to take in numerous locations in one trip. For example, with a car rental from Malaga airport, you can enjoy the best of what Andalucia has to offer, with trips to the likes Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, as well as exploring the coastline of the Costa del Sol to try out its various beaches and relax in its many pretty coastal towns. UK driving licenses are still valid in Spain post-Brexit so renting a car during your time is an easy and convenient choice to make.
You can find more details on driving in the EU here.
Think about what you need to pack
Once everything else is organised and you start to get closer to the date of your Spanish holiday, you will want to leave time to plan what you need to pack. Is your heart set on hiking the Sierra Nevada? Well, you won’t go far if you don’t have a pair of hiking shoes! Haven’t been on holiday for a while? You better check if your swimwear still fits. Spain is a diverse land in terms of its terrain, geography and climate, so making sure your suitcase has suitable clothing and equipment will be sensible indeed.
Somto, from the travel blog Somto Seeks, suggests a sensible packing list for a trip to Spain: “Pack lots of casual, lightweight clothes plus a few cardigans and a jacket. In the summer, the temperature in most of Spain is scorching hot and dry during the day then breezy and slightly cool at night. Given that, you will want to pack mostly shorts, summer dresses, skirts, tank tops, and short-sleeve tops.”
Further still, don’t forget to pack some holiday money! Having some cash in hand is never a bad idea when abroad so don’t forget to pick up some Euros before your trip. While using your card will be fine in many situations, having the option of paying in cash will be a helpful option throughout your trip.
Tips for organising a Spanish holiday
- Keep up to date with health and safety measures
- Make sure your travel documents are valid
- Research locations and attractions
- Decide when you would like to visit
- Plan your transport
- Think about what you need to pack
We hope the above advice proves useful for when you decide to organise your holiday to Spain. It’s a country with so much to offer, for couples and families, sunbathers and adventure-seekers. It’s never too early to start researching and then, with your plan in place, you can enjoy a memorable Spanish holiday.
For more tips, guides, and advice, head to our blog.